Medieval combat

Members of the Star Wars group the 501st Legion engage in medieval combat at Florence Community Library’s ComiCon in June 2018.

My mother was not happy. Her pleasant demeanor dissolved when she saw the glitter scattered on the carpet in our front room. Her list of suspects quickly narrowed to her 9-year old son. She proceeded to scold me and explain the difficulty in removing glitter from rug fibers.

I felt guilty briefly, but it soon passed. I was wearing my new Superman costume, complete with the cape and I was now invincible. At least, I thought I was.

The Adventures of Superman, starring George Reeves was a TV hit in the late 1950s and I made sure to view the reruns for several years following. I was fixated on a man who had super-strength, X-ray vision and could fly.

As most children do when following a hero, I tried in my own ways to imitate Superman. My flying exhibits were not safe but the exhilaration that came with “pretending” to fly, led me to the steep boulders in our backyard. I climbed to the top, balanced myself and then leaped though the air…like Superman.

My flight time didn’t match my superhero; I was airborne maybe two to three seconds before tumbling to the ground. I was fortunate I never broke or sprained an ankle during my soaring displays.

When I was 12 to 14 years old, the Batman TV series was popular. Adam West played Bruce Wayne, a rich entrepreneur who fought crime in Gotham City. While I never wore a Batman costume, the three-year series aired twice a week for the first two seasons, then weekly for the final year.

I didn’t miss an episode but believed I was “too old” to wear a kid’s costume. My comic book collection was legendary among my friends on King Street in Flagstaff. I bought Superman, Batman and even Dennis the Menace comic books when I began to read in the first grade. These publications found their way to our tree houses, the family car during long trips, and in various back yards when my friends and I slept outside during the summers.

When I turned 15 and moved to Phoenix, it was a “rite of passage” when I disposed of all my comic books. I was an adult now and that was kid’s stuff. I wish I still had those comic books.

Today’s kids, and even many adults, still cling to their superheroes through comic books and other pop-culture methods. One of the most popular means of expressing this joy is by attending conferences dedicated to comics. These events have different titles but are often known as Comic Cons. All associated activities at these conferences are centered around comics and comic book culture.

Florence Library Manager Jasper Halt said these events are expanding nation-wide in numbers and attendance. “Comics and pop culture-themed events have exploded in popularity over the past ten years with mainstream Comi Cons in big cities becoming massive events on the scale of major sporting events.”

Two years ago, the library staff decided to tap into this growing popularity and offered its own Library ComiCon which is tied into its Summer Reading Program. Library ComiCon is on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. in the Library and Community Center. Participants in this free event can take photos with life-sized standups of famous characters and observe combat demonstrations between medieval and pirate-themed combatants.

Halt also is pleased to announce that first-time vendors, Harley’s Toys and Comics and Presidio Comics, will attend. Some of the library’s activities during the event include a scavenger hunt, gaming, a movie, crafts and face-painting. Anyone with an interest in this type of event is encouraged to attend and is invited to wear their favorite costume.

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